Providing Quality Reproductive Health in Peru

Close to half of Peru’s 27 million people are squeezed along its serpentine coastline. The overwhelming majority of the country’s industrial infrastructure is concentrated in the capital city and along the coast. As a result, many small Andean communities have been bypassed by development. Peru’s population is growing by 2% a year and the total fertility rate is close to three children per woman. However, these are national averages. In the mountainous communities where Quecha is spoken, women often have 6-8 children each, about twice as many as they desire. This is a clear indication that quality reproductive health information and services are not available in many remote rural regions.

The project’s objectives are fivefold:

  • To strengthen coordination between service providers and clients;
  • To empower groups of women and adolescents by increasing their knowledge about reproductive health and rights;
  • To strengthen partnership networks, particularly among UN agencies and NGOs;
  • To increase the capacity of public and private institutions to deliver quality sexual and reproductive health;
  • To standardize the existing knowledge base regarding reproductive and sexual health and augment it with lessons learned in order to improve the design of strategic activities.

Activities at the National Level:

  • Improve coordination of activities between UN agencies, the government and selected NGOs.
  • Analyze 35 projects implemented by national NGOs in order to better design strategic interventions and activities.
  • Adolescents identified as the priority group to be targeted by project activities.

Activities at the Local Level:

  • Three project sites were initially selected for activities – one along the coast, one on the interior plains and one in tropical rainforest in the Amazon Basin. These three areas represent a cross section of the country, facilitating the replication of results elsewhere in Peru.
  • In the pilot sites, focus groups and individual interviews helped determine gaps in service provision and information.

What's NEW

In three different regions in Peru the government, coalition members and community action groups agreed on the pressing need to improve the attitudes of health care providers towards adolescents who seek services. As poverty deepens in both urban and rural communities, adolescents are being abandoned by their families. This results in increasing numbers of school dropouts, alcohol and drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Adolescents stated that when they do dare to visit reproductive health facilities they are treated poorly, with no respect or confidentiality.

The project in Peru will work on mobilizing organized groups of adolescents and young people, particularly girls, to influence the way services are delivered. In order to do this, information campaigns will be launched and direct partnership with health care providers will be facilitated.

In the jungle region of Pucallpa, members of local health councils will be trained to include on their agendas issues related to the provision of quality reproductive health care. This is considered a viable mechanism to address the current lack of quality services, underscored by contraceptive lockouts (inadequate supplies) and poor service delivery. In addition, a pilot project will be launched in San Juan de Lurigancho, the country’s most densely populated district located outside the capital, Lima.

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